In Massachusetts, most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Only certain employers who are in specific fields or who are very small are excluded from this requirement.
Workers’ compensation insurance provides a benefit to employees if they are injured at work or while carrying out work-related tasks. However, not every employee can receive these benefits. You must meet certain eligibility requirements, but the good news is that most workers meet these requirements automatically.
Eligibility Requirements for Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Massachusetts
Every state’s eligibility requirements for workers’ compensation are slightly different. However, the basic requirements generally stay the same from state to state. They include:
- The person or company that employs you has workers’ compensation insurance (or they must have been legally required to carry workers’ compensation insurance).
- You must be an employee of that person or company.
- Your injury or illness must be work related.
Certain types of workers likely will not be covered, including some household workers, agricultural workers, and some temporary workers. Most volunteers are not considered employees either, but there are some exceptions. Your attorney can let you know if your position is one of the few job categories that does not provide workers’ compensation coverage.
Which Types of Workers are NOT Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?
Generally, if you do meet any of the requirements, then you cannot receive workers’ compensation benefits. This may seem straightforward, but it can be complicated.
For example, you may have a difficult time determining whether you are an actual employee or if you are an independent contractor. This is important because only employees are covered—independent contractors do not receive the benefit of workers’ compensation. You may be considered an independent contractor if:
- You control how to perform your job completely. No one tells you when to work or how much time you have to put into your job.
- The service you are providing is outside the normal scope of the employer’s business.
- You are capable of performing the service for other individuals or companies. That is, the law considers your skill or service something that is independently established without a definite connection to a particular employer.
Massachusetts has some of the strictest independent contractor laws in the country. That means that most of the time, individuals are considered employees if there is a close call.
The Requirement for a Work-Related Injury
Your injury must also be work-related. Again, this requirement is not as straightforward as it sounds. There are situations where an individual is injured, but there was no specific triggering event. This can occur in injuries that are a result of repetition or aggravation of a preexisting injury. Part of your attorney’s job will be to determine and show that your workers’ compensation claim was because of work-related injury.
Getting Benefits After You Are Injured
If you think you meet all of the requirements for eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits, but you are not getting paid, then contacting a workers’ compensation attorney is a good idea. Call (781) 689-2277 for more information.